Shelley Heffler's art practice is inspired by her lifelong fascination with maps, which began during her childhood when she navigated the subways of New York City. Her work explores the interconnectedness of the world in terms of human values and experiences, drawing inspiration from cartography, digital imagery from NASA, topography, and science and ecological systems. She is particularly interested in issues related to sustainability, waste, and consumption, using cartography and topography to examine the impact of human actions on the environment.
Heffler's sculptural pieces highlight the unsettling engagement of human alterations to land and earth, emphasizing the impact of our actions on the environment. She received an Interior Design Degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, followed by a Master's Degree in Fine Art from Cal State Northridge, where she also obtained a teaching credential. She taught ceramics and fine art for L.A. Unified for over 25 years, and was also an adjunct professor at Otis College of Art and Design.
Heffler's work has been featured in exhibitions across the United States, including at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art rental gallery and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. Her work has been reviewed in prestigious publications such as the British magazine Hedge, the Los Angeles Times, the LA Independent, the Daily News, the San Diego Tribune, the San Diego Art Review, Shoutout LA, Elevated Magazine, and Palm Springs Life.
Heffler has received several awards and grants, including nominations for the Awards for the Visual Arts, a Fellowship from Funds for Teachers, and an NEA Grant for a community project in Inglewood. Her paintings, sculptures, and photographs are in the collections of many collectors across the United States. She has been identified as "One to Watch" on Saatchi On Line and featured in “Art Pins”. Since retiring from teaching, Heffler has dedicated herself solely to her art practice in her studio located at the Perez Art Center in Cathedral City, California, creating works that encourage viewers to consider their own impact on the environment and to think about the potential for sustainability and positive change.